Sunken Ships is a Zikoko series that explores the how and why of the end of all relationships — familial, romantic or just good old friendships.
Halimat* and Aisha* (both 21) live in the same estate, are from the same state and once shared the same interests. So they were bound to be friends. But after four years, distance strained the relationship and an act of mistrust caused it to end.
How did you meet?
Halimat: My aunt had a shop in the estate where I lived. I occasionally helped her out, and it allowed me to meet a lot of people in the estate. Aisha was one of them. She was my age, and we were from the same state, so we kind of gravitated towards each other. We eventually got pretty close.
How close and why?
Halimat: Apart from the age and state thing, we had other things in common. We both went to Islamic schools, and our love for American music and YA novels made us outcasts there. Plus, we lived two minutes apart. We were able to see each other whenever we wanted.
We’d run errands together, listen to our favourite songs and talk about books. It was nice to have someone to share these things with since most of the other girls my age didn’t want to talk about things like that. There was a time we trekked the whole estate together because we were bored. I loved us doing silly things like that, and she felt like a sister.
That sounds great, but you’re here so something must have happened
Halimat: When it was time for us to enter universities, I got admission, but she didn’t. So I had to travel for school while she stayed back at home to do her A levels. One of my biggest flaws is once I can’t see you, I don’t care about you. Out of sight, out of mind.
She was also really busy with her A levels and the first year of university, studying Biology, was after my life. It was a new environment with very stressful courses. Whatever time I wasn’t using to study and attend classes, I was trying to rest.
The few times we did have a conversation, it was confusing. She’d reference people she met during her A levels, and I’d talk about people in school; we were out of the loop in each other’s lives. We went from seeing each other every day to barely speaking at all.
When ASUU went on strike, I thought that would remedy the situation, and I’d get my friend back.
Why didn’t it?
Halimat: The first problem was I’d become a lot less lax with Islam. I stopped covering my hair and was very vocal about never doing that again. She, on the other hand, was still very modest. We still had the same interests so I could let some of her comments about me not covering my hair slide.
When I got back home, she came to my house, and we spent some time in the living room catching up. I told her about all the things that happened that session, and I included travelling to another state to see my friend. To put things into perspective, the trip cost me ₦1k, and I did it because there was a writing workshop in that state and my friend offered to house me.
When I told Aisha this, she blew up in my face, shouting at me for being careless and things like that. I was so confused because she was the same girl who travelled to see her boyfriend. What gave her the authority to speak to me in that manner? But I brushed it off and went to the kitchen to cook.
What happened next?
Halimat: Ten minutes after the conversation, my mum called me to the living room and started shouting at me, telling me the roads weren’t safe and I was putting my life at risk. I was confused at first, then angry. I’d taken those same “unsafe” roads for my grandma’s burial she wanted me to attend. So why was this different?
I didn’t say anything to her because of how angry I was. Afterwards, Aishat told me she only told my mum because she “cared”, but I wasn’t buying it. I told her something because I trusted her, not so she could tell my mum my business.
So you didn’t speak to her again?
Halimat: I did, but not by choice. A couple of days after the incident, my mother forced me to go to Aishat’s house to talk to her. Aishat had apparently been talking to her own mother about how I’ve refused to speak to her.
When I got to the house, her mother tried to remind us we were more than just friends, but I wasn’t interested in what they were selling. I spent very little time there and got back home. I told my other best friend about the situation, and he went to confront her. She got very angry because I was talking to other people about what she did, but I didn’t care for her anger.
What did you do?
Halimat: Nothing. I wouldn’t apologise because she’d betrayed my trust, and as a result, had forfeited any right she had over me.
Fair. Did she ever apologise?
Halimat: Once they called off the strike a couple of months later, she texted me that she doesn’t beg people who are angry with her, but she was putting her pride aside because she rates me. I told her congratulations and blocked her. That was such a half-assed apology; it annoyed me even more.
Did you talk again after then?
Halimat: Three years later, when my dad died, she came to my house for a condolence visit. It felt like she was trying to rekindle something, but I wasn’t interested. Not just because of what happened, but because I’d gotten tired of all the condolence visits. She stayed for 30 minutes, and it was awkward for everyone involved.
Do you think you’d ever be friends again?
Halimat: I don’t think so. I find it hard to trust people completely, but I trusted her and look what she did. I’ve forgiven her, but I’d never forget.